If you’ve heard me and my team on the local news talking about Arizona food prices you know we always say, "stick to the basics to avoid high food costs, additives and too much sugar." The Basics are basic especially since we’re in the business of promoting Arizona Agriculture.


So, what do I mean by basics? Here’s my list.

  1. Meat proteins to include beef, pork, lamb and chicken
  2. Egg protein
  3. Fruits
  4. Vegetables
  5. Various whole grains
  6. Dairy


The USDA My Plate promotes the basic and so does our Arizona Farm Bureau’s own Fill Your Plate. These efforts obviously suggest avoiding processed foods and too much sugar. It’s basic, fairly easy stuff. Of course, the quickest way to reduce your sugar intake is to stop drinking soda. 


But what are the easy “life hacks” to reducing your own sugar intake? Much of it comes from your own recipe efforts. For example, make pies more nutritious by using whole grains for the crust and cutting back on sugar to allow the fruit to provide natural sweetness, according to registered dietitian Maria Petzel. Eliminating the pie crust entirely can help reduce calories, Petzel said.


In my own family’s example, mom would use substitutes like honey where it made sense. Also, another simple like hack of my mom’s included cutting in half the amount of sugar the recipe called for. We never noticed. 


Finally, and probably the most important life hack, mom never gave us candy as kids (though she did do pies and cakes for birthdays, again with half the sugar) but instead gave us fruit.